Brenda G. Thomas, NNPS Senior Facilitator

As we all try to grasp the impact of COVID-19 on society as a whole, we focus especially on the changes that have affected the world of education. Teachers quickly changed how they teach to assure that their students would continue to receive the best education possible during the COVID-19 crisis. Everyone learned quickly: Family and community engagement IS at the forefront of learning at home.

Some called online learning and paper packets the “new normal.” Others called all of this a “disruption.” No matter what it is called, the bottom line is that when school doors closed, children at all grade levels needed to keep learning, and that teachers had to communicate clearly with students and parents. Teachers were working hard from home, and students were working hard from home. But, it was not up to teachers alone or students alone or parents alone to keep learning. Clearly, it was a real partnership!

Now, everyone looks quite differently at e-mails, Zoom meetings, and where “work” gets done. Who would have thought that home became the family place, workplace, school room, place of worship, and place for recreation—all in one? Technology may not be quite as intriguing as we once thought. We’ve learned its benefits and its short comings. Social distancing or physical distancing set us apart only to help us realize how important we are to one another. COVID-19 continues to teach us that the heart and soul of the work we do as educators IS about school, family, and community partnerships!

As I have called, e-mailed, and talked with many of you over the weeks of COVID-19, I have seen a positive side to the “new normal” or “disruption” in how you have done your work on family and community engagement. I started a list of the important work you are doing:

• You’ve been able to meet challenges that you did not think you could solve.
• You’ve gone above and beyond making sure every student had food and necessary supplies to get through each day.
• You’ve gathered materials, designed lessons, and taught the best you could with the tools you had to work with.
• In partnership with families and the community, you made sure that there was a method of communication between home and school.
• You juggled working from your home and taking care of your home and your family at the same time.
• Keep the list going with the positive things YOU have learned about work on partnerships during the time of COVID-19 . . .

Send your comments or questions about this Bloglet to:
Brenda Thomas, NNPS Senior Facilitator,
Joyce Epstein, Director, NNPS,